21 Rules and Truisms of Fencing

This coming week, in preparation for our first tournament as a club, I will be posting information about etiquette, bouts, directors, etc. The following list was borrowed from the Pierpont Fencing Club website in Burbank, California. I have edited a few small things, but nothing that would change the intended meaning:

21 Rules and Truisms of Fencing

by Sam Sam Signorelli, SwordPlay Fencing Studio

  1. Respect your opponent’s skills, even if you don’t particularly like him or her.
  2. When arguing a call with the director, be polite and respectful; don’t be an ass about it.
  3. If a particular trick doesn’t work the first couple of times, for crying out loud, try something different!
  4. There’s nothing wrong with beating your opponent 5-0 in the pool round.
  5. In épée, check your tip screws after each bout.
  6. In foil, ensure your tip is still there after each halt of action.
  7. Don’t be nasty to the people in your pool… you’ll most likely have one of them in the DE round.
  8. If things aren’t going your way, don’t get so upset that you lose your self-control and discipline; angry fencers make mistakes.
  9. Show support for your teammates when they’re fencing and you’re not. Just one “Go get ’em!” can make all the difference in the world.
  10. Just as there’s no such thing as an atheist in a foxhole, there are no friends on the piste (strip).
  11. Don’t stop until the director calls, “Halt!”
  12. Don’t cheat or accuse others of doing so just so you can get another point, particularly when you’re far ahead or vastly superior in skill to your opponent. You demean yourself and the sport when you do so.
  13. Retreat, don’t just run away… there’s a difference.
  14. Finish the attack!
  15. You may be big, tall and strong, but remember that power means nothing without control.
  16. Be gracious when you lose… more importantly, be gracious when you win.
  17. Don’t look at the friggin’ box!!
  18. Don’t let yourself get psyched out by a higher rated or higher skilled opponent… you never know when you’re going to be hot.
  19. Have fun… not many people can stab a total stranger with a long knife and get rewarded for it!
  20. Never give up–even if you’re down 14-0.
  21. Never underestimate ANYONE!!

On a personal note, #20 is something that each of you should ingrain in your mind. Fencing is a sport filled with stories of great comebacks. Many things can happen on the fencing strip, and many of them in your favor. The score is not final until the director ends the bout!

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